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Old November 24th, 2005, 08:02 AM   #1
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Hurricane could hit San Diego?

San Diego has been hit by hurricanes in the past and may be affected by such storms in the future according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While a hurricane in San Diego would likely produce significantly less damage than Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, it could still exact a high cost to Southern California especially if the region was caught off guard.

Hurricane Katrina was particularly devastating to New Orleans because the city lies below sea level and is surrounded by three large bodies of water -- Mississippi River to the south, Lake Pontchartrain to the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the east. In New Orleans, most devastation was associated with flooding. Flooding would likely be less of a concern in San Diego which sits at a higher elevation and would more easily be evacuated than the Louisiana city. However, San Diego and other Southern California communities could expect more wind damage and destruction caused by mudslides. Earlier this year mudslides and rockfalls resulting from heavy rains killed ten people and destroyed 15 homes in La Conchita, California.

Hurricane Risk in California

While most hurricanes in the United States affect the East Coast, the West Coast is also vulnerable. According to research presented earlier this year at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in San Diego, California, a tropical cyclone brought hurricane-force winds to San Diego in 1858.

"On October 2, 1858, estimated sustained hurricane force winds produced by a tropical cyclone located a short distance offshore were felt in San Diego," said Christopher Landsea, the co-author of a paper on the 1858 hurricane and a hurricane researcher at NOAA's Hurricane Research Division at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Fla. "Extensive damage was done in the city and was described as the severest gale ever felt to that date, nor has it been matched or exceeded in severity since."

Coral evidence suggests the ocean was particularly warm that year and, according to a press release from NOAA, "Warmer waters and a conducive atmosphere allowed the hurricane to sustain Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Category 1 intensity (wind speed of 72-95 mph) as far north as southern California. Available evidence suggests that the hurricane tracked just offshore from San Diego, without the eye coming inland, but close enough to produce damaging winds along the entire coast from San Diego to Long Beach."


Should such a storm return it would cost the region hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in damage according to Christopher Landsea and Michael Chenoweth, authors of the study.

"What this also tells us is that a hurricane has directly affected southern California in recorded history and we should remember that if the conditions are right, the area could get hit again," Landsea said. "Mike and I hope that emergency managers, residents of the area, business owners, the insurance industry, and decision-makers be made aware of this possibility, as most in southern California may think they are completely safe from hurricanes because they are on the Pacific coast instead of the Atlantic."

Impact of Climate Change on Hurricanes

While there is no evidence to suggest that climate change will produce more frequent hurricanes, new research suggests that warmer oceans and seas could produce stronger storms. Late last month an atmospheric scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a study in Nature that found hurricanes have grown significantly more powerful and destructive over the past three decades. Kerry Emanuel, the author of the study, warns that since hurricanes depend on warm water to form and build, global climate change might increase the effect of hurricanes still further in coming years. It is conceivable that a warmer Pacific could someday enable a hurricane to strike cities farther north, even Los Angeles.

Hurricanes already nearby in Mexico

Hurricanes do batter Baja California (the northernmost state of Mexico, located just south of San Diego) from time to time, usually coinciding with El Niņo years. In September 1997, an El Niņo year, Hurricane Linda became the strongest storm recorded in the eastern Pacific with winds estimated at 180 mph For a time there was concern that Linda would come ashore in California as a tropical storm, but the storm turned away and the state only experienced high surf and thunderstorms.

I think we're not safe.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 04:58 AM   #2
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Interesting information. Is this an article, and if so were is it from?
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Old November 26th, 2005, 07:36 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, the price you pay for a warmer climate is more severe climate problems when things go wrong. I think we get enough of the good stuff to counteract the little bit of bad, especially compared to places like Florida.
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Old November 26th, 2005, 07:59 AM   #4
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I remember several years ago there was a hurricane that formed off the Mexican west coast and instead of going west it turned around and headed northeasterly and hit Baja California and Arizona. But I don't think it was a hurricane by the time it hit Arizona, just remnants of one.
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Old November 26th, 2005, 10:13 AM   #5
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I don't think that we have had a hurricane hit SD since the early 80's!
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Old November 26th, 2005, 02:33 PM   #6
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I wouldn't say that a hurricane is the biggest threat to SD. The one that worries me is the thought of a major earthquake caused by the San Andreas fault causing shockwaves out at sea and creating a tidal surge.
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Old November 27th, 2005, 12:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond James Bond
I remember several years ago there was a hurricane that formed off the Mexican west coast and instead of going west it turned around and headed northeasterly and hit Baja California and Arizona. But I don't think it was a hurricane by the time it hit Arizona, just remnants of one.
I totally remember this scenario. They had tracked the hurricane to come ashore on the northern coast of SD County, but instead it veered east, just south of us over Baja and into AZ. As you said, by that time it was just the remnants of the storm.
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Old November 27th, 2005, 01:07 AM   #8
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I've heard of large storms hitting the San Diego coast before, destroying the Oceanside pier and cause lots of damage. But I have never been in one that I know of.
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Old November 27th, 2005, 05:58 AM   #9
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Bring it.
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Old November 27th, 2005, 07:06 AM   #10
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How big have these huricanes in SD been?

Post up a picture or whatever ya got!
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Old November 27th, 2005, 11:03 AM   #11
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Um I thought a hurricane in the Pacific was called a typhoon.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 01:10 AM   #12
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From Wikipedia:

1858 San Diego Hurricane

Duration sometime in September-Oct. 2, 1858
Highest winds 75 miles per hour sustained
Damages exact amount unknown, but heavy damage to San Diego
Fatalities unknown
Areas affected Extreme Southern California and northwestern Mexico, especially San Diego
Part of the pre-1900 Pacific hurricane seasons

The 1858 San Diego Hurricane was a very rare California hurricane. It is the only known tropical cyclone to impact California as a hurricane, although other systems impacted California as tropical storms.

Storm History

Sometime in September, a hurricane formed in the East Pacific Ocean. Unlike most east Pacific storms, this one moved towards the north. On October 2, it neared Southern California while weakening and being sheared. It just missed making landfall, as it turned to the northwest. It approached Santa Catalina Island in the Channel Islands and dissipated. There is some uncertainty to this reconstructed path.

Effects on California

San Diego encountered heavy winds and lots of rain. Several boats were thrown ashore, and damage was extensive. Roofs were stripped off, trees were uprooted, fences were demolished. Some homes were totally levelled. Items left outdoors were blown around. A windmill was destroyed. It is not known if there were any fatalities.

San Pedro reported a storm surge, with boats being sunk or blown ashore. A large stockpile of lumber was carried away.

Los Angeles received heavy rain. There was some street flooding, and damage caused by leaky roofs. There was some minor crop damage caused by wind gusts.

Rediscovery

Using newspaper accounts, two researchers with the NOAA, Christopher Landsea, and Michael Chenoweth, reconstructed and rediscovered this hurricane. Its strong winds were mentioned in the folklore of the region.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 01:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoeda
Um I thought a hurricane in the Pacific was called a typhoon.
They are called typhoons in the Western Pacific, and in the Eastern Pacific they are called hurricanes.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 01:54 AM   #14
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Well these anyways, are nothing compared to other parts of the US. No worries.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 07:49 PM   #15
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I'd like a hurricane, as long as its not like cat 5 or something, but it'd be interesting.. as hngcm said.. Bring It!!
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Old November 30th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #16
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Sorry but i wasn't here that's why I didn't answer
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDfan
Interesting information. Is this an article, and if so were is it from?
Yes it is, hmm but I don't remember where I read it.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 11:27 AM   #17
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haha I'd love to see that happen, SD needs some good showering.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 02:28 AM   #18
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^ Good to see that weathermen sucked even back in 1858. "Sometime in September..." and "There is some uncertainty to this reconstructed path."

I think it's the earthquake you need to worry about. Even harder to predict, especially for an 1858 weatherman.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 04:16 AM   #19
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San Diego hasn't had a strong earthquake....yet
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Old December 13th, 2005, 05:46 AM   #20
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San Diego isn't really earthquake pron as LA or SF. Were more at risk from a tidal wave.
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